Walvis Bay Council puts hold on suspensions

Ester Mbathera

The municipal council of Walvis Bay requested the chief executive officer to put on hold the suspension of the town’s general manager for finance and the manager of finance following a council resolution on Tuesday.

Frans !Gonteb and Johana Shidute were suspended on Wednesday morning to allow for a full investigation into the appointment of RedForce Debt Management CC to assist the municipality collect outstanding debt.

In a letter to the acting CEO, John Esterhuizen, the mayor, Trevino Forbes, acknowledged that they had not followed the proper procedure for the suspension of the two office bearers.

“The Ministry of Urbanisation and Rural Development advised that, as a council, we follow the correct procedures as per the Local Authority Act and therefore the matter must first be referred to the management committee,” he said.

The municipality clarified in a statement earlier on Wednesday that it is not making any accusations against the suspended employees.

The municipality also informed Walvis Bay residents that RedForce may no longer disconnect or reconnect municipal water services, as well as conduct water meter readings.

“Such duties are exclusively reserved as part of the duties of the Municipal Council of Walvis Bay in terms of the Local Authorities Act,” reads the statement.

The municipality also confirmed that the Redforce chose to serve a summons on the council for litigation over the cancellation of their Consultancy Service Agreement.

The municipality has intermediately instructed Metcalfe Beukes Attorneys to oppose such a matter and institute a counterclaim against RedForce.

The municipality announced that Metcalfe Beukes Attorneys as its designated legal representatives, will provide information about the Redforce matter.

The lawyers, in the meantime, maintain that the suspension process was correct.

“Please note that the municipal council of Walvis Bay is only subject to the recommendation of the management committee. It cannot set aside any resolution affected by the municipal council of Walvis Bay,” he said.

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